Imperial Citizens (first book, award-winning)

Imperial Citizens Koreans and Race from Seoul to LAImperial Citizens:
Koreans and Race from Seoul to LA

(Stanford University Press, 2008)

Recipient of:
2009 Oliver Cromwell Cox Book Award, Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities, American Sociological Association
2009 Book of the Year Award, Section on Asia and Asian America, American Sociological Association

Imperial Citizens seeks to move beyond the assumption of many scholars that immigrants only engage American “race” hierarchies within the borders of the United States. Specifically, Kim analyzes how America’s post-World War II expansion into Asia introduced racial inequalities and ideologies that shaped future immigrants’ understandings of both their own group and of the White-over-Black U.S. order.  Using Korean Americans as a case study, Kim primarily conducted in-depth interviews and ethnographic participant observation both in Seoul, South Korea and Los Angeles, California, USA.  Looking at racialization from a global and transnational perspective, her analysis revealed that US dominance had shored up ideologies, attitudes, and identities that shaped South Koreans’ navigation of domestic racial hierarchies as Korean Americans.  Overall, this work seeks to contribute to our understandings of immigrant struggles with US racial inequality in cross-border contexts, and more broadly enters into ongoing debates about Asia-USA relations and the “fate” of America’s multiracial landscape.

Stanford University Press